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Can’t Fight Crazy

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Wise advice given to me several times yesterday by friends and neighbors — Steve, there’s no sense in trying to fight with a crazy person.  One friend changed the word fight to reason.  I get it.  I really do get it.  In his book, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis said that we know what is decent behavior, we want to be decent, but each and every person fails at some point in every day.  We fail to practice ourselves the kind of behavior we expect from other people.

I am trying not to act like a crazy person.  I am dealing with the crazy person.  I so much want to fight back, but I know my friends are correct.  It really is difficult to not confront this person face to face, fight her, take her on, make her stop.  My friends tell me that I expect her to act like a decent person, in the way I expect a good person to behave, like every person is hard wired to honor what they know is the right way, unselfish.

When I returned early yesterday morning at 4 AM, after taking my daughter to the airport, the confrontation with my rude downstairs neighbor was really eating at me, enough that I slept very little during the three hours I had left to sleep.  I fumed, fought the anger inside of me that wanted to fight back, the guy who wants to be decent warring with the guy who just wants to put on the gloves.  I know what is right.  But I also know that I need to reach some kind of resolution — and that resolution needs to be my own, not hers.  It’s up to my neighbor to solve her own demons.  What I do know is that my neighbor is controlling, I have allowed myself to be controlled, have been tiptoeing around my condo when I don’t really need to.  I thought I was keeping peace, but what I really am doing is enabling my downstairs neighbor’s perpetually bad behavior.

So, I wrote her a letter, knowing that it will solve nothing as far as she is concerned.  But putting my thoughts in writing takes the guy with the gloves out of the equation, allows me to move on.  I don’t need to fight with her.  I only need to live in my condo, not worry so much (within common sense reason) how it affects the numbskull who lives in the condo below me.

I also called the property manager, as well as talked to my next door neighbors.  Each revealed a common theme — my downstairs neighbor has behaved the same way towards each owner of my condo unit.  The property manager assured me that any complaints lodged by my crazy neighbor would be dismissed.  The manager and my neighbors assured me they are on my side.

One thing I am certain of — the woman calls my daughter a whore again, the gloves come on.

My neighbor copied two pages from an old copy of our condo rules, highlighted the word ‘guests’ and ‘excessive noise’, placed the pages in front of my door yesterday.  I responded by taping my letter to her front door.

Therese,

Thanks for greeting my daughter and I in such an unpleasant, rude manner last night.  All I can say is that you should be apologizing for the behavior and attitude that you demonstrated.  I don’t anticipate that you care about good will or else you would not be behaving the way you have behaved since I moved in this past April.  I have lived in apartments, houses, condos, dorm rooms my entire life and have always had excellent relationships with my neighbors.  Sadly, I fear that is not possible with you as it currently stands.  I have never encountered such selfish, childish behavior from any neighbor.  Congratulations on being the first such neighbor that I have ever had.

For your information, the young woman with me (as she kindly explained to you) last night is my daughter.  She slept at my condo for the first time last night.  My daughter is a college senior and is completing her student teaching right now.  The reason why she stayed with me last night is so I could take her to O’Hare airport.  For the next 8 weeks, she will be student teaching at an international school in Guatemala City.  Her flight departed at 5:45 this morning, the reason that we were up at 2:30.  When you so rudely confronted us, we were on the way to my garage to leave for the airport.  It was an excellent time with her, but your behavior certainly could have put a damper on our mood.  I love my daughter, cherish the opportunities to spend time with her, so I do not appreciate someone whose behavior gets in the way of that enjoyment.

I have tried to be as polite and courteous to you as possible, including being careful about what times I use my water and appliances.  When I arrive in my condo, I take my shoes off at the door so I don’t make as much noise when I walk.  So when you yelled out your objection “you are always flushing your toilet”, I was surprised.. and maybe I should not be surprised.  Apparently you have been rude to everyone who has lived in my unit, including the same kind of complaints about flushing the toilet, etc….

Since you have not voiced any objections to my condo habits since last April, I considered them resolved.  Why you decided to voice them so angrily last night, without any discussion or warning, I don’t know.  You certainly had no reason to be angry.

I want to continue to be a courteous and polite neighbor.  I suggest you take the time to discuss your grievances with me in a calm manner.  I will listen and try to change what is possible to change.  Unfortunately, a toilet needs to be flushed, but even that I have tried to limit.  You and your husband are welcome to visit and discuss.

If you can’t deal with living in a first floor condo, may I suggest that you sell your condo and move to a place where you do not have neighbors that live above you?  Otherwise, I ask that we deal with each other kindly.  I do not plan on moving any time soon.

Sincerely,

Steve Henry

Unit G

Kid Week

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My kids are 18 and 21, no longer live with me, so it’s a real blessing when I get the opportunity to spend time with them.  Even better is when I get to spend time with them because they have sought me out.  That’s the way it was this week.

Both are different in their motivation, each unique.  My son likes sports, is on the golf team at the community college he attends, and he likes it when I foot the bill.  The daughter, on the other hand, is like a lot of daughters in that she just wants me to know that she likes me and always makes sure that we spend time together when she is in town.  Of course, she also likes Lou Malnatis pizza and books, so I think that helps her want to see her dad.  I buy and I always read along with her!

This past Sunday and Monday, my son and I travelled to Arcadia, Michigan for a round of golf at Arcadia Bluffs Golf Course.  I booked a room for Sunday night at the Bluffs Lodge, right on the golf course.  As we arrived at the course Sunday evening, we were treated to a spectacular view of the sunset from the bluffs above Lake Michigan.  Our jaws dropped as we drove along the unbelievably beautiful golf course to the club house and lodge, checked our clubs at the bag drop, dropped our things off in the spacious room, then had dinner in the clubhouse restaurant.  The view of the lake and the rosy sunset as we ate dinner seemed to make everything taste better.  The hospitality had already been outstanding, our golf clubs would be stored overnight and on the golf cart ready for us at our tee time the next morning.  Our room overlooked the golf course, and we sat out on the patio adjoining our room to take in the stars on a cloudless night.  In Chicagoland, even out in the western suburbs where we live, the light pollution is too great to really see the stars.  Later on, the moon lit up the golf course outside of the room, a reason to forego sleep just to enjoy the rare beauty.

Sunday and Monday, I had roughly 11 hours of windshield time with my son, spent 4 hours on the golf course with him, ate meals with him, slept in the same room with him.  It was without a doubt the best time that I have had with him in years.

The golf course was amazing.  I suck at golf, but it didn’t matter.  The scenery was worth the trip alone.  And I played the difficult course fairly well, watched my son shoot 2 over for the round.

This morning at 3, I dropped my daughter off at O’Hare airport.  She is on an airplane destined for Guatemala City, a much anticipated 8 week trip to finish off her student teaching.  My daughter will be teaching at an international Christian school there.  I am encouraged at how prepared she is.  We spent last evening together, her first night staying at my place since I moved in.  Of course, there was the Lou from Lou Malnatis pizza.  The evening closed with tea and conversation on the couch, her bags packed in my car.  At 2:30 this morning, the alarm went off, she freshened up and off we went.

Not before my daughter got to “meet” my unpleasant downstairs neighbor.  As we passed her door on the way to my garage, my neighbor barged out of her front door and started barking at us for flushing the toilet.  I told her that she was being rude and to go back to bed.  My daughter, angry but controlled, told her that she was sorry that the flushing toilet bothered her and excused herself as we were on our way to the airport for her Guatemala trip, letting my neighbor know that she was yelling at my daughter.  I had to go upstairs a minute later to retrieve car keys, made sure that I stomped heavily on my way out the door.  The confrontation only dampened our mood for a minute — we only had a few more minutes together and nothing was going to ruin that.

I dropped my girl off at the terminal, helped her carry her three suitcases to the airline counter, hugged her, tears rolling as I walked away.  She texted me a few minutes later, already at her gate.

Good kid week.  Let’s see how it ends — I am having a party at my place Saturday night!

Ban the Banshees

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I was waiting in the checkout line at my local Walgreens store after work tonight, a bag of York peppermint patties clenched tightly in my hand as a familiar stench invaded my nostrils.  The guy in front of me reeked of cigarette smoke, so much that it made me wonder if the guy had bathed in a bottle of Eau de Foulness all day.  Perhaps it was a nicotine induced hallucination, but I swear that the guy’s cigarette B.O. cloud had gathered in the shape of a hand and was giving me the half peace sign.  It was all I could do to keep from gagging into the magazine stand next to me, my hand raised casually in front of my nose in an attempt to divert the smell, my breath held.  I turned a little to see if anyone behind me was suffering along with me, only to get whacked by the same stench coming from the woman behind me.  In utter resignation, I turned and pinched my nose, my mind cursing the woman at the front of the line who was quibbling with the cashier over a few coupons.

Hurry hurry hurry, my mind begged in its oxygen deprived state.  There was no way that I was leaving.  Those peppermint patties are important to my condo’s décor, their cheery foil packages bring joyful sparkle to the crystal bowl on my dining room table.  They are a necessity, a need, not a want.  They might also be my favorite snack.  Maybe.

Finally, the cashier managed to appease the penny pincher at the front of the line, Mister Smells of Camels paid for his purchases and left.  It was my turn to pay, with only Marlboro Momma’s odor left to deal with.  The cashier greeted me with a smile and asked how I was doing.

“Ibe obe kayb”, I replied while attempting to continue to hold my breath, no longer able to hold my nose while digging my debit card out of my wallet.  She frowned and wrinkled her nose at me, obviously blaming me for the unfriendly air quality.  Winking, I turned towards the door and thumbed behind me in an attempt to implicate Marlboro Momma.  Honestly, I am not sure that the cashier believed me, but she probably did when M.M. ordered a pack of cigs as I walked away with my well earned peppermint pattie prize.  I staggered to my car, reeling from cigarette B.O. overdose, climbed in, closed the door, started the car and turned on the air conditioning.

Was Mister Smells of Camels hiding in my back seat?  In horror, I realized that my two fellow customer’s had successfully managed to permeate my clothing and person with their odor.  Lovely.  Not to waste my years of watching MacGyver, I devised the perfect fix.

It took the whole bag of Yorks….

Destination Duluth

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It’s been a while since I have been here, not by choice, but simply because I had one of those nasty respiratory infections that went to my eyes.  The infection turned to pink eye and I felt like I was running on depleted cheap batteries for about two weeks.  That kind of sucks, but it also forced me to slow down and learn to become one with my couch again, something that I haven’t done for a while.  Since it’s summer, I don’t like to skimp on my riding.

Of course, the respiratory infection started to kick in right before I left for a planned mountain bike vacation to Duluth.  Woe is me, I guess.  My first planned ride-cation was foiled by one of the wettest weeks of the summer in the Midwest.  This one was screwed up by being sick.  The infection came on strong the day before I was supposed to leave for Duluth, my destination, but I went any way.  This was my time to ride on endless new trails for four days.

Duluth is touted as a cool place to ride, an IMBA gold destination.  The day I arrived, a Thursday, was rainy.  Drat.  Instead of staying off of the trails, I decided to ride in the rain, on one of the easy trail systems in the area.  It was fun, even with the rain, and I was treated to a spectacular view of Lake Superior from the top of one of the trails.  It was cold and I knew that I likely was not helping the respiratory infection, but it felt wonderful.  The woods were beautiful and it was a unique place to ride, with lots of built in obstacles and smooth rock, something I don’t get a lot of in Chicagoland.20170810_173338

I chose to camp on this trip, mainly because I had limited funds (divorce ain’t cheap).  A friend and one of the salesman that I work with lives in Duluth, recommended the camp sites at the Nordic ski club that he belongs to.  It was cheap.  Mosquito infested, but the pests were manageable with repellent.  I chose a site close to the lodge, mainly because I didn’t want to tote my stuff back to the camp site that I had reserved (the camping was walk in).  There was another camp site in close proximity, with a tent already set up.  I was going to have a neighbor.

The nights were freaking cold.  And I didn’t have a sleeping bag since my ex has all of the family bags in her storage unit.  I spent all the evenings I was there wrapped in several blankets, trying to keep warm.  It probably didn’t help me resist that infection.

The camp site next to me was occupied by Carl, a guy who had recently become homeless.  He was a nice guy and we became friends, spent a lot of time together around the camp fire.  I got to find out if I have the capacity to have a positive influence on someone any more.  As he told a friend before I left, I had more of an impact on him than I could possibly imagine.  We shared a lot, I witnessed him lure two women to his tent via a dating website (scary, if you think about it at all — these women came to him and in the dark).  My last night there, I bought T-bone steaks and cooked them for Carl and I over the fire.

My second day in Duluth, I felt nasty.  Riding in the rain the day before, with a respiratory infection, then sleeping in the cold, probably didn’t help.  I got a bagel and coffee, then headed for what looked like the best trail system in the Duluth area — Piedmont.

I wasn’t disappointed.  The infection made me sweat like a pig, but I enjoyed every inch of the trails there.  There was something for everyone, with double black diamond loops over some of the nastiest rock gardens that I have every seen.  One trail loop, Admiral Rockbar, was so treacherous that I walked the majority of the trail, but I loved it.  At one point, I descended a downhill trail with high berm switchbacks, something new for me.  It was awesome, indescribably awesome.

That afternoon, I met my friend who lives in the Duluth area.  He took me to Spirit Mountain, a downhill ski area where you can pay for a lift ticket that takes you to the top with your bike.  There were four downhill trails.  I have never ridden true downhill, except for the trail at Piedmont that I rode the day before.

When I get the chance, I am riding downhill again.. and again.. and again.  I have never had so much fun.  I was tired, but I didn’t care.  I just kept riding.  My friend took me out to eat and for beer at a local Duluth craft brewery.  Things couldn’t get any better.

That night, I had the chills.  I woke up the next morning with a throbbing headache and zero energy.  Instead of riding again (it was Saturday) with my friend, I slept all morning and into the afternoon.  I was sick.

Then my friend, Sandy, an old blogging friend who has become a dear friend over the years, came to visit me.  She lives an hour or two south of Duluth.  We spent the evening around the fire, along with my camp neighbor Carl.  I won’t say much, but it was great to see Sandy again.  She has had a rough go the last year or two, but when I saw her it was obvious that she is doing quite well, has come out of the funk she was in.

I left Sunday afternoon, drove 11 hours to Chicagoland.  Got out of my car and couldn’t stand up straight.  Yep.  I was sick and my back was spasming!  The next morning I woke up to swelled eyes and pink eye.

But it was good.  I rode, not as much as what I would have liked, but I rode.

 

 

Spinning Outside of Reality

One of the challenges to cycling is weather.  By necessity, unless the cyclist is part hamster, cycling is an activity that is best done outdoors.  An axiom (not mine originally) that I subscribed to when I was a spandex sporting road cyclist, was that I would ride in rain if caught in a storm but never would I start a ride if it was wet.  Only occasionally have I ignored that little rule, usually when rain has prevented me from riding for too long and I just had to ride, even then only if my spare bike was ready to ride.  When my cycling interest gravitated more to mountain bike and riding dirt, weather became even more of a factor.  Now, it’s necessary to make sure that trails are not too muddy to ride, as well as planning my time a little more carefully due to the time it takes to drive to the trails I ride the most.

Finally, we have had a week in Chicagoland without too much rain.  Getting rides in has been difficult a good portion of this summer.  It has just been too wet.  Last month, I had scheduled a four day weekend with the hope of visiting some out of town trails.  Alas, that week was the one where there was flooding everywhere within a four hour drive.  I made lemonade out of the lemons, stayed put, managed to get some rides in at the trails I always ride.  They dry out quickly.

I am driving to Duluth this Thursday to ride what are touted to be incredibly good singletrack trails there.  Thursday, of course, has a 66% chance of rain.  I am going no matter what.  Hopefully, I get the 34% chance of no rain.  My camping reservations are until Sunday, with reasonably good forecasts for the remaining days.  I will get my riding fix.

For those interested, my status is still separated, although there has finally been correspondence regarding a settlement.  My lawyer responded to hers today regarding a request for temporary maintenance, as well as addressing some mutual debt and child expenses that she is refusing to share with me.  I am probably overly optimistic, but there could be agreement on a settlement within the next few weeks.  Honestly, the real difficult part of this whole process has been the waiting.  The other stuff is just that.. stuff.

I could really use a few days of spinning outside of reality, however.

Resurrected Titanium

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I never intended to neglect her, even as I stopped to admire her pearled finish and timeless beauty as I passed her each day.  We used to be constant companions with hardly a day where we didn’t spend at least an hour together.  She was a gift, cherished in a way that expressed my true thanks to have such a wonderful machine.  Never a spot did I allow, never a fault or blemish.  My partner was too precious, too much a part of me, to allow any harm.

Then came the other one.  The dirty pleasure who showed me things that I had never even dreamed of until I met her.  She brought me back to nature, a satisfied peace that helped me escape to a place of refuge, my body experiencing a different challenge than my pearly beauty could ever give to me.  I was taken away, away from the stress of the road, away from the constant effort that the other required of me.  Sure, she had a bigger, more sturdy frame, but the ecstasy she brought made me forget all else.  With her, it was about the experience, not so much the sheer appearance.  Soon, all I wanted was my time in the woods.  Rarely did I come back to my pearly beauty, my first love.

I had to come back.  Saturday, I donned the spandex that I had spurned during my hiatus from my titanium beauty, the Serotta road bike that I have loved for so long.  Tentatively, I returned to the garage, prepped my white steed for a ride, picked it up, still astonished at how light the bike is for such old technology — the frame is over 20 years old.  It felt strange to wear spandex again, the tight material stretched over my 56 year old frame, a bit self conscious as I rolled down the first stretch of road.  The click of cleat to pedal brought a smile as my right foot found the Look Keo pedal, a surge as the first down stroke took affect.

It was a different feeling, not unfamiliar, the speed of the light bike underneath me, the resistance of high pressure road tires to the pavement much less than knobby mountain bike tires to dirt.  I rolled along at a nice, 18 mph pace after my body warmed up, content on a pleasant but humid Saturday afternoon.  The traffic was light, the ride easy.  10 miles in, I encountered an old friend at a stoplight, a fast rider who races, and settled in behind him for another 10 miles.

Home again, I realized that my muscles were sore.  Riding the road bike works different muscles than the mountain bike.  I was happy to know they still existed, annoyed that I had let them go.

Sunday found me with a text message from my “wife”, telling me that she had visited our daughter at her summer camp, where she is a camp counselor.  The air conditioning on our daughter’s car wasn’t working, so my “wife” wanted to know what to do about it.  I drove the 90 minutes to the camp, exchanged cars with my daughter, brought her car home.

The car went to the mechanic early Tuesday morning.  Instead of hitching a ride with my office manager, who lives close, I decided to take advantage of my renewed relationship with my road bike.  I rode to work.  For more than 20 years, bike commuting was something I was known for around the office, an activity I took advantage of nearly 12 months out of the year.  But since I took my new job over three years ago, I have bike commuted only a few times, not once since we changed office locations at the beginning of 2016.

Commuting by bike is different than merely riding for pleasure.  Unless one gets up to commute before dawn, a bike commute is going to mean that I am riding in the presence of a large amount of motor vehicles.  Even a dawn ride involves more vehicle interaction than an early Saturday morning ride.  Almost immediately, within the first few pedal strokes, I felt the uncomfortable closeness of cars constantly zooming past my backside.  Years ago, riding with traffic had become second nature.  It took a bit for that second nature to kick in again.

I enjoyed the ride, parked my bike in my office, a bit of pride at once again using my hobby in a practical way.  Really, I should have parked the bike in the storage unit my company rents in the basement.  Instead, I left the bike in my office window for all to admire.  She is a beauty, after all.FB_IMG_1500987905985

Last night, my second ride home on my commute.  Approaching a stoplight where I had to cross over a second lane to get to the left turn lane, a small brained motorist behind me decided to take his aggression out on me.  I won’t share the details — they are not important.  But I remembered another reason why the peace of the woods and dirt trails has become so precious to me.  I arrived home with clenched teeth, a result of stuffing the temptation to react to the angry motorist.

I will continue to return to my pearly white beauty for weekend strolls along less travelled roads.  I am pretty sure that I don’t want the stress of commuting any more.  Oh, I could get used to it again, as I did so many years ago.  I got to the point then where I rarely had an incident.. but the roads are different now, the congestion of the suburbs more pronounced.  I ride the bike to relieve stress, keep my body in tune.  I want to keep it that way.

Cat Pee Conqueror

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20170717_065458It is finished.  It smells finished.  It looks finished.  After much soaking, scrubbing, and blotting this cat pee conquistador is victorious.  The last step was to apply baking soda over the entire area, then a hydrogen peroxide + dishwashing soap mixture over the baking soda.  I scrubbed the foaming concoction into the carpet with a brush, waited a few minutes as it soaked in, then blotted it up.  I knew it was doing it’s job as the fluid in the towel began to come up clear, not yellow.  Crossing my fingers, I left for a few hours ride, came home to the scent of NOTHING.  When the carpet dried, the carpet was shampooed with cold water (hot water had been a bad thing earlier).  The water in the machine’s waste tank wasn’t clear at first, but it wasn’t dark.  No..more..cat..pee.

It’s a small victory, but the small ones still make me smile.

Old Yeller

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I am going to tell you this right now, know that I am shooting straight (or at least straighter than a certain two cats) — it’s possible to teach an old dog new cat pee tricks.

This old dog is learning the hard way.

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Dark picture. That’s a Fresh Wave container in the middle, bravely defending the room from the stink attack.

Finished with the painting of my recently purchased condo, mostly moved in, the place clean and tidy, the to do list whittled down to just a few things.  One of the things left on that to do list is to remedy the cat pee stains in the front corner of the master bedroom, where the previous owner kept the cat box.  One of the two cats was male and, being the typical male, he apparently missed the toilet now and then most of the time.  Let’s just say that it is very obvious where the litter box was placed in the room from the yellow outline in the carpet.  The stench was also obvious, not overwhelming, but not pleasant either.  Something had to be done.

Old Dog Lesson #1 — Do NOT use steaming hot water in the carpet cleaning machine when attempting to shampoo out cat urine in the carpet.

Remember that I said that the stench was obvious but not overwhelming.  After I shampooed the carpet last Saturday, the stench grabbed me by the collar and punched me in the face the next time that I walked through my front door.  To say that the scent is strong is an understatement.

Old Dog Lesson #2 — Expensive enzymatic solutions are not always the solution.

Not yet, at least.  I soaked the area with a popular enzymatic odor eliminator specifically formulated for cat urine.  I will dare to mention the brand as there are likely going to be people who read this blog who will recommend it.  Now the manufacturer will likely read it also.  The concoction I used is Nature’s Miracle.  So far, with the carpet nearly dry, there has been no miracle.  The stench might actually be worse.  I am not going to blame the cleaner.  Perhaps the fact that the area has been recently treated with shampoo caused the NM to be ineffective.  I have heard good things about NM, so I am not going to knock the stuff.  Unfortunately, the stuff ain’t helping.

If the odor isn’t gone once the cleaner has dried, I am going to try white vinegar.  If that doesn’t work, I am going to try baking soda with hydrogen peroxide and dishwashing liquid.  If that doesn’t work, I am going to buy gas masks and hand them to every guest as they walk through my front door.

This old dog is not pissed off.  Nor am I going to give up.  This does indeed suck, however.

 

Heck Might Be Too Much

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I belong to a unique fraternity, a band of brothers of sorts, all of whom worked for the same company for an extended period of time with a dramatic ending for each.  That trauma gives us a unique bond, one which finds us sharing fantasies of what sort of torture should be inflicted on the specific person who orchestrated our demise, an enemy we all agree is worthy of punishment.  Each brother has a different degree of lust for revenge, dreams that at times make me flinch at their harshness.  Revenge is not my cup of tea, not something I want to allow into my mind.  While I can’t claim to perfection, my disdain for the person of disgust clear to me, I can’t bring myself to hate a person enough to want them to be harmed.  Punishment for anyone is not my responsibility.  I don’t want anyone’s unmentionables to be chopped off and fed to them, as some of my friends have intimated.

That said, I guess there could be some things I might wish on my enemies.  If I were to put together a list, the top five things I might wish on my enemies might just look like this —

  1.  Chronic hemorrhoids for eternity.  I’m thinking that spending every day scootching along the carpet with the family dog might be sufficient punishment, especially if said enemy ends up in hell.  That adds a twist to the phrase “itching and burning”.
  2. Bette Midler singing “Wind Beneath My Wings” and stuck in their head 24/7 for one month.  I’m thinking one day of this torture might cause the inflicted to jump off of a tall bridge.  Fllllllyyyyyyy… flllllyyyyyyYYYY….
  3. Bad health insurance.  I’m pretty sure someone cursed me with this one years ago.
  4. Cub fans for a lifetime.  Sadly, this one exists and some people choose this curse.  As a Cardinal fan who has known baseball heaven on earth my whole life, this punishment would indeed be hell on earth.  The only worse punishment might be the curse of being a White Sox fan for life.  Let me just say this — professional baseball should be banned from the city of Chicago (wait.. it has been for some time).
  5. Put them in a minivan with three elementary age children who have just consumed three supersized frozen cokes each, make them drive a 1500 mile turnpike without exits and 100 miles between rest areas.  Bonus if the rest area toilets require $2.00 in quarters for entry.  Extra bonus if there are plenty of rivers and waterfalls to view along the way.  Heck, for added grins the van’s stereo should have Wind Beneath My Wings stuck in a loop and the off button broken.  Those hemorrhoids should burn even more as the butt cheeks clench.

I would love to hear further suggestions.  My mind is already beginning to churn out more ideas, an evil chuckle passing my lips.

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[i] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (Matthew 5:43-45, NIV)

Jesus was right.  But, but, but JESUS, come on… just a few little thoughts?  You have to admit, the minivan thing is pretty good, Lord!